Bio-mechanical research done at Harvard indicated that running barefoot produced proper running mechanics. When the subjects ran barefoot the foot strike naturally adjusted to a forefoot/mid foot strike as opposed to a heel strike. Heel strike is uncomfortable without artificial padding.
You can find a description of good running mechanics in the General Discussion forums in the Spark teams F.I.T.Females in Training and Resistance band and bodyweight training. If you look on my Spark page I have posted some pictures of faulty running technique, landing with a heel strike. Note the position of the body in relationship to the foot strike and the rigidity of the leg. In one the individual on the left is running poorly and the one on the right is running correctly.
A lot of local running stores (not foot locker or large chains) offer clinics of running form and injury prevention.
Get to know the staff at the store, they are a great source of information and are very helpful in outfitting you with proper shoes, socks, etc. Once you get more confident in your running ability join them for a group run. They are lots of fun and you may meet a running partner or two as well.
This is one of the most controversial topics in the running world at this time. The current research indicates two things, one that the over padded, over engineered supposedly corrective running shoes in fact can cause running problems and injury and two that running barefoot promotes the most natural running mechanics. Barefoot running is a current trend and all the major running shoe manufacturers are offering some form of minimalist shoe, a trend started by the Vibram Five Finger line of footwear. The school of running called Chi running seems to favour minimalist shoes.
As an experienced running coach I have found that the majority of foot and leg problems are caused by faulty running mechanics such as landing with a heel strike which is over striding and places the centre of mass behind the foot strike. This over striding means the knee is locked or semi locked send the shock of landing up the leg with no natural body shock absorption. The raised and heavily padded heel on most running shoes leads to heel strike.
If you need corrective shoes to run you should also need and wear corrective shoes to walk and do your daily activities since similar foot and leg mechanics are involved. Checking the sole of your shoes will indicate if you have the problems defined as over pronation, under pronation or any of the other catch phrases used by the employees of running stores. The only accurate means of assessing these problems is a bio mechanical analysis of a video of the action not someone watching you walk or run on a treadmill.
I just started Couch to 5K training this week. I have realized quite quickly that the crosstrainers I use for fitness classes at the gym or walking the dog are NOT the right shoes for running. I'll be heading to a running store this weekend to make sure I get some good shoes for my feet. I have low arches, I overpronate, and I've had plantar fasciitis a couple of times. I don't want an injury to sideline all the progress that I have made!
Fitness Minutes: (31,224)
2/17/13 10:51 P
Good that you got this done! I tell everyone I know who runs that they should do this too... well worth it when it can possibly prevent some injuries or pain, as well.
Fitness Minutes: (38,083)
2/17/13 9:21 P
I totally agree. I actually bought the same shoes twice, one red that I run in, and one blue that I do everything else in. My legs are SO much happier!
Fitness Minutes: (3,951)
2/17/13 2:44 P
I went to my local running store today per the advice of my husband. I needed new shoes. I'm so glad that I did. They did a fitting and assessed the way I walk. Apparently my left ankle collapses when I walk. So, I was able to find shoes that will help lift my ankle.
I just wanted to say, if you can, get a proper fitting for your shoes. It may make a big difference.
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